Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he isn’t currently planning to rest Kevin Durant at any point in Oklahoma City’s final four games.
“It’s nothing that I’ve talked about and worried about. Fatigue is not an issue with our group,” Brooks said. “His minutes are right at 38 to 39 minutes a game. During this stretch, we’ve had eight games in 12 nights so there’s some time off that we give in practice and shootaround. We’re talking 39 minutes of your day. I think he can handle that at age 25.”
Durant has averaged 38.5 minutes this season and has put in 39.7 minutes per game in April. But with the Thunder almost locked into second place in the West standings, OKC has little left to play for in the regular season.
Brooks, however, has a history of getting Durant some rest at the end of the regular season. He sat Durant for the regular season finale last season, and Brooks also limited the minutes of Durant and the rest of the starters in the 2010-11 season finale.
Durant has not and probably will not publicly point to fatigue being a factor. But he’s struggled with his shot in three of the past five games. He scored 28 points on 11-for-26 shooting last week against San Antonio, 28 points on 7-for-19 shooting last week at Houston and had 27 points on 8-for-26 shooting Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
In a 38-point performance this past Sunday at Phoenix, Durant made 13 of 28 shots but took a career-high 15 3-pointers and made only four.
THUNDER TO HOST UNICEF NIGHT
The Thunder, in cooperation with forward Serge Ibaka and UNICEF, will hold a special UNICEF night during Friday’s game against New Orleans.
The event will include a special auction outside Section 120, with a chance for fans to bid on the jersey Ibaka will wear during the game against the Pelicans. The winner also will meet Ibaka after the game. Ibaka will donate his game shoes for a future action as well.
Before the game, Ibaka is scheduled to address the crowd and thank the fans for their support of UNICEF.
Proceeds from the auction will benefit UNICEF and the Thunder Cares Foundation.
SEFOLOSHA SAYS HE FEELS GOOD
Thabo Sefolosha said he hasn’t experienced any setbacks in his left calf after returning to the lineup Tuesday and immediately playing in a back-to-back.
“I really took my time to come back, to be as close as possible to 100 percent as far as how it feels, and I think I'm in a good spot,” Sefolosha said. “I’m happy with the way it feels. I can play and not think about it. That’s the main thing.”
Sefolosha played 24 minutes Wednesday against the Clippers after being limited to 15 on Tuesday at Sacramento. It was an unexpected increase but perhaps a sign of how confident the team feels in Sefolosha’s recovery.
Brooks on Los Angeles Clipers forward Blake Griffin — “He’s a great player. He’s going to go down as one of the best power forwards in the game the way he plays.”
New Orleans forward Anthony Davis will miss the remainder of the season to rest an ailing back. Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft and a first-year All-Star, will miss all three games against the Thunder this year. He will have played in only two of the seven meetings between the two teams over his first two seasons…Grant Jerrett, the 40th overall pick in the 2013 draft, will join the team for Friday’s game after signing with the Thunder on Monday…Caron Butler’s streak of games with at least one made 3-pointer ended at 14 against the Clippers on Wednesday…After turning the ball over a season-low six times Tuesday at Sacramento, the Thunder turned it over just eight time against the Clippers on Wednesday…Oklahoma City needs to go 4-0 the rest of the season to improve its winning percentage for the sixth straight year.